In the depths of the fiery unit which is the Leinster forward pack there burns a particular young bright ember; second-row Ryan Baird, at just 20, has run, rucked, jumped and bashed his way into the top echelons of the Pro14.
The youngster was born in Dublin in 1999 and completed his schooling at St. Michael’s College. His exploits in the Leinster Schools Rugby Senior Cup were exemplary and, although St. Michael’s narrowly lost in the semi-finals of the competition, it was clear that Baird was destined for higher honours in his playing career.
Predictably, Baird entered the Leinster academy ahead of the 2018/19 season. He debuted for the senior team on 27 April 2019 in a hard-fought 14-13 victory over Ulster.
Since then, Baird has gone from strength to strength and is a regular in the starting lineup. Still bigger things are expected of the 1.98m, 107kg athlete. His physical presence on the field is significant; hard runs, equally effective tackling and useful lineout work have his name spilling regularly out of the moths of the commentators.
He exhibits the work-ethic of a far more experienced player, quite indicative of his ambition, which will no doubt see him take the field for Ireland in the future.